British honour to Tony Iommi

The fansite for Tony Iommi fans celebrating his brilliant 50 years of dedication and service to music

Tony Iommi reveals surprising details regarding his Iommi 2000 album

Heavy metal originator Tony Iommi sat down with Ryan J. Downey at the Musicians Institute on 23 October 2017, to discuss his personal history from his upbringing and early influences through the end of Black Sabbath and his current ambitions. When it came time to discuss his first solo record, 2000's Iommi, and its wealth of guest contributors, the guitarist revealed a surprising request that came through.

For those familiar with the album, you already know that the litany of rockers includes Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, Philip Anselmo, Billy Corgan, Brian May, Serj Tankian... the list goes on. On Black Sabbath's Forbidden, we were treated to the rap / metal hybrid as Ice-T was featured on the opening track "Illusion of Power"... but how would Iommi's riffs have sounded with Eminem over them? We'll never know, but it was within the realm of possibility as the rapper attempted to secure a coveted guest spot on the Iommi record.

Unfortunately for Eminem, Iommi was wholly unaware of the rapper when the request came through and, as we know today, the Detroit legend never made his way onto the guitarist's debut solo record. As it turns out, another Detroit icon, Kid Rock, was slated to appear on the album, but his track did not make the final cut.

It was also revealed that Dave Grohl was only supposed to contribute vocals to one track, "Goodbye Lament," but begged to play drums. Iommi informed Grohl that he was using Matt Cameron as the drummer for the album, but he was eventually booted from that one track to allow Grohl to sit behind the kit for his joint efforts., 24 October 2017

Tony Iommi interviewed by Q Magazine again

The Q Awards take place on Wednesday 18 October 2017. Here, Black Sabbath‘s guitar icon Tony Iommi speaks to Matt Allen of Q about why the Les Paul is so important.

How did Les Paul change modern music?

“Les Paul has always been around, originally as a jazz guitarist and a recording artist. I didn’t know much about him when I started out – I was mainly into bands like The Shadows and Django Reinhardt – who I’d got into because he played using only two fingers, and I’d lost the tips of two of mine in a factory accident as a kid. But as far as I was concerned, Les Paul was a guitar and people like Eric Clapton were using them. So, while I didn’t know much about the man back then, I soon came to learn the impact of his work and the effect he’d had on music. That happened as I got into being a guitarist. But the more I understood about him, the more I learned about how he’d become a pioneer in developing the electric guitar; that he’d developed multi track recording techniques and overdubbing, which really shook up music. His influence through innovation was huge, but he also inspired a lot of people with the way he played the guitar. Sadly, I never got to meet the man himself.”

How did he influence your career?

“Indirectly really rather than someone I copied. Les Paul has been a huge influence on the lives of so many guitarists because of his pioneering spirit. If anyone buys a guitar these days they’ll want a Les Paul or a Gibson. It’s a unique guitar: the shape, the style and the sound – it’s got a great bluesy sound to it, and that’s down to him.”

What guitars did you like to use in Black Sabbath?

“As a kid, I started off with a Fender, but in Black Sabbath‘s early recording sessions I picked up a Gibson SG and never looked back. I used that most of the time because they had a much fatter sound. But I would have used the Les Paul if I hadn’t cut my fingers off. With the Gibson SG I could get up to the top frets, I couldn’t really with the Les Paul, but I always had this fascination with that guitar and I did eventually get to record with one when we put together the Black Sabbath track Hand Of Doom from Paranoid (1970).. I really did try to use a Les Paul because I really liked them, but they just weren’t right for me.”

How did Les Paul recording tecniques influence you? 

“His early experiments with techniques such as tape delay and overdubbing were influential on everybody; Les Paul had started experimenting with multi-tracking as far back as 1950. I remember on the first Black Sabbath album (Black Sabbath, 1970), we used multi track and it really came into play. I would put the first track down and then do two solos. Then we would mix them together. It sounded very different.”

What did it mean to you to win the 2015 Les Paul award?

“Well it was absolutely fantastic really. I very thrilled to get that award, because so many other brilliant guitarists have received it, like Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, The Edge and Fleetwood Mac‘s Peter Green. It was really a surprise a to win it, and it was very unusual to win an award that was much more personal. Black Sabbath have won Grammys and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but I felt like I’d joined a great cast of guitarists. I felt very honoured to be a part of that group.”, 14 October 2017

Tony Iommi officially opens BIMM Birmingham

Really great news arrived from Birmingham's BIMM music college, and the special event where our Tony officially cut the ribbon at it's entrance doors! That's what BIMM writes on their website:

Tony Iommi has sold over 70 million albums worldwide as a founding member of Black Sabbath – one of the greatest rock and metal bands of all time. His legacy spans an incredible 50 years and his continued support towards BIMM is an inspiration to our students. With that, there is no one on the planet better suited to unveil our brand new BIMM Birmingham college. Thankfully, he obliged…

The pioneering guitarist toured our brand new £4M state-of-the-art college and was even treated to a live performance workshop by our Songwriting tutor and lead singer of The Whip, Bruce Carter. Tony listened to our inaugural students, while each critiqued one another – a nerve-wracking moment for any aspiring musicians; however, Tony – as he often does – made everyone feel at home.

First year degree student James Attwood was the very first recipient of the prestigious Tony Iommi scholarship at the official opening ceremony of BIMM Birmingham earlier this week. The young guitarist, who’s studying a BA Hons in Professional Musicianship, received the £20,250 award from the Black Sabbath riff-master himself. During the event, James had a chance for a one-to-one chat with Tony, in which he received some choice words of encouragement and advice. The tour also took in the impressive drum room, where Tony had a one-to-one meeting with James, who had been personally selected by the Black Sabbath guitarist to receive a once-in-a-lifetime scholarship bearing his name. Being awarded the prestigious scholarship means that means that James has his course fees covered for the entirety of his degree at BIMM Birmingham. Speaking after the meeting, an elated James told BIMM:

“It was brilliant; there was a great atmosphere in college. It’s a privilege to receive this Tony Iommi scholarship; he’s a guitar legend. Essentially this bursary will allow me to practice my art and follow my career choice. It’s a massive weight off my mind; I can immerse myself in studying for my degree without the worries of paying a loan back when I graduate. Tony was very friendly and asked me about my ambitions. He was interested in what I’ve been doing at BIMM and how I’m progressing. To be recognised for my drive as a musician is an honour.”

As well as the scholarship, we have also awarded three Tony Iommi BIMM Birmingham Bursaries to help prospective students access a £1,500 bursary for their first year of study. Tony’s support of the BIMM scholarship and bursaries scheme is a testament to our close ties with the industry, and a massive honour for all of us. Following the tour, Tony, who grew up in nearby Handsworth, spoke highly of BIMM and the facilities here, which he believes will help more aspiring musicians release their dream.

“I’d have loved something like BIMM where you get the opportunity to live your dreams. In my day, I had to teach myself, but now with all these facilities you can learn everything you need to know about the business,” he said.

And then the moment we had all been waiting for… Tony was later invited to cut the ribbon in front of an audience of  BIMM Birmingham students and tutors by Executive Principal Dara Kilkenny, who also had this to say:

“This building is where so much is going to happen. It’s a creative, exciting music environment, and will go on for a very long time. It will also rejuvenate the area. Tony Iommi is steeped in the history and heritage of this city, and we are thrilled he’s here to share this special occasion with us and to award the Tony Iommi Scholarship.”

Dara then invited James Atwood to come forward to receive his scholarship certificate. Tony then cut the black – very fitting – ribbon and declared BIMM Birmingham officially open. After raucous cheering and applause from the students, we heard some final words of support and encouragement from the man himself…

“You can learn a lot here. Love what you do, stick with it and you will be successful. I want to come back and see how you do.  Good luck everyone.”

Truly amazing... Whatever Tony does, he leaves us in awe. What a noble kind hearted great man. Masterpiece of a human being., 12 October 2017 

Photo: Tony Iommi and James Attwood

Black Sabbath to release The End live in november


Almost five decades ago, the toll of a bell and rolling thunder marked the conception of an ear splittingly monolithic riff. In that moment, Black Sabbath and the sound of heavy metal were forged. The band embarked on what vocalist Ozzy Osbourne describes as the most incredible adventure you could think of, a journey that would go on to define a genre.

The End is a celebration of Black Sabbath's final hometown concert at Birmingham's Genting Arena on 4th February 2017. This unforgettable farewell show from one of the biggest bands in the world will be released by Eagle Vision on November 17th, 2017.

With a hit packed set list including "Iron Man", "Paranoid", "War Pigs", and many more, the high production values, visual effects, and pyrotechnics wowed fans, as the band delivered the most emotionally charged show in their history. All visual formats feature special bonus material of the band playing a selection of their favorite songs not played on tour. These intimate live sessions at Angelic Studios were recorded in the days after their final live performance. The End captures a once-in-a-career performance, an essential snapshot of musical history, and a fitting farewell to true innovators and original heavy metal icons, Black Sabbath.

"Black Sabbath", "Fairies Wear Boots", "Under The Sun" / "Every Day Comes And Goes", "After Forever", "Into The Void", "Snowblind", Band Intros, "War Pigs", "Behind The Wall Of Sleep",  "Bassically / N.I.B.", "Hand Of Doom", "Supernaut" / "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" / "Megalomania", "Rat Salad" / Drum Solo, "Iron Man", "Dirty Women", "Children Of The Grave", "Paranoid".

The Angelic Sessions
"The Wizard", "Wicked World", "Sweet Leaf", "Tomorrow's Dream", "Changes".

Pre-orders are available now via Amazon and Pledge Music - where exclusive bundles such as the deluxe box set can be found. The release is available in all existing formats: CD, DVD, Blue-Ray, and vinyl LP versions., 7 October 2017

Tony Iommi' s guitar strings raised funds for cancer patients


Tony Iommi has raised over £8,000 by auctioning off the strings from the guitar that he used for the last Black Sabbath concert on their world tour. Tony very kindly decided to split the money that he raised between Ward 19 at Heartlands Hospital and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The music star was inspired to raise money for Ward 19 after visiting a friend of his who was being treated for cancer on the ward and thought that auctioning off his guitar strings would be a brilliant way to do this.

Ward 19 at Heartlands Hospital treats thousands of people from across the West Midlands each year and specialises in treating patients with a wide range of cancers including breast, lung, prostate and leukaemia. Heartlands Hospital Charity raises money to provide ‘added extras’ for the ward over and above that which the NHS can provide. These added extras help to make life easier for patients and staff on the ward and, to-date, have included medical equipment, special seating for patients and even nurses who provide chemotherapy at patients’ homes.

Tony said: “I am proud to have raised money for Ward 19, my friend received the highest standard of care whilst on the ward and I wanted to do my part to give something back. I would encourage everyone to do what they can to help support this nationally-renowned local cancer ward. Having been treated for lymphoma myself, I am aware of the challenges that being diagnosed with cancer can bring. The incredible staff on Ward 19 do everything they can to ease these challenges and I hope the money raised means they can provide even more for their patients in the future.”

Mr Shankara Paneesha, Haematology Consultant and Heartlands Hospital has asked Tony to be a patron of Ward 19. Mr Paneesha said: “I am delighted that someone of Tony’s fame has decided to fundraise for Ward 19, it will be an honour to have Tony as a patron and I’m sure his influence will help Ward 19 to continue to provide the best possible care for our patients.”

Justine Davy, Head of Fundraising for Heartlands Hospital Charity said: “The Charity is so grateful to Tony for his amazing fundraising efforts. As someone who has spent most of their life in the West Midlands he is well aware of the importance of Ward 19 to the region.”

Tony published on his social networks following statement:
The strings used at the Birmingham concerts have raised funds for two cancer charities. Thanks to my tech Mike for arranging as well as members of the Global Black Sabbath Convention (especially Karen, Boris and Manny."

The string auction took place on Facebook group Global Black Sabbath Convention, organized by Tony' s friend and technician Mike Clement, Ben Fahl, Dave Davis, Steve Ghelfi and Ralph Lauro. The auction winners are die hard fans Manny Contreras, Boris Sidow and Karen DiZefalo.

Congratulations to all! Long live Tony Iommi! \m/


12 September 2017

Tony Iommi returns to Regent Studios


Tony Iommi returned to Regent Sounds on 27 July 2017, the very place where Black Sabbath recorded their first two albums, 'Black Sabbath' and 'Paranoid', both released in 1970. The Black Sabbath founder spoke about the forthcoming 'Ten Year War' box set and his time in the band that spawned Heavy Metal.

Speaking about his plans for the future, Iommi said: "For me, it's good to have some time and to be able to look at things and what I wanna do, because for nearly fifty years… I never had time to really come down, because you're getting ready for the next tour or the next album or the next interview. The thing is I'm actually doing more now… I mean, I thought we were gonna come off tour and I'd stop and I'd put my feet up and I thought, 'That's what I wanna do,' but I haven't had time. We've been working on the forthcoming DVD, and I have been overseeing the mixing for the DVD, of the music. Everybody else is sunning it up in L.A. But, you know, it's what I do. It's what I've always done. So I haven't really had time to think about what I want to do next. I get offered a lot of stuff, and you can keep doing it forever, and I just wanna think about what I wanna do and take on different things that I really enjoy. As far as touring, yeah, I wouldn't wanna tour the world again. For me, I get pretty tired of doing it now. I love being on stage — that's the ultimate thing — but people don't understand the rest of it. They just see you there for a couple of hours and they don't know it's taken you eight hours to get there, doing interviews and press before the show, and then after the show, you've gotta wind down and get back to the hotel. Sometimes you don't get back to the hotel until four o'clock in the morning."

Sabbath played the final gig of their final tour in their hometown of Birmingham on February 4th this year and there is little doubt that it really is the end of lengthy bouts of touring for Heavy Metal Metal's founding fathers. However, a contented and engaging Tony Iommi delivered the clearest sign yet that the Metal pioneers could well take to the stage once more, while expressing his desire to see Sabbath's original drummer, Bill Ward, play in the band again. Tony was speaking at the 'Ten Year War' box set launch event in London where the subject of Sabbath playing again arose. Host Phil Alexander said:

"We all hope that it happens to be honest - Sabbath - the four of you actually. There's something that happens that other people don't have and it is quite a remarkable and unique thing."

Guitar legend Tony responded: "It would be nice to have done these last shows with Bill... but it just couldn't happen, it just didn't happen. And it's silly really because I think it would have been good for the four of us, even if Bill would have just played a couple of shows it would have been great... but he wouldn't. I don't think he quite realizes how hard it would have been on him. So we wanted to bring another drummer just in case Bill ended up saying 'I can't do it' for a couple of days or whatever. It's too risky to go out and then have Bill say 'I can't do it,' and you have to cancel a show on seventy thousand people, or whatever it might be. It's very hard, and it's not fair on the fans and it's not fair on him."

Before Tony Iommi's entrance, Bill had spoken at the event via live video feed. The drummer did not take part in the reunion that took the band around the world twice on mammoth tours and made no suggestion that he would be seen on the Sabbath drumstool again. During his ten minute appearance, he recalled his days with the band fondly and enthusiastically and ended with the words: "I love you still, no matter what."

He had earlier enthused about his favourite Sabbath song, 'Hand Of Doom', saying: "I wish I was still playing it. It's part of who I am."

We four virtually lived together for all of those years," remembered Iommi, "But all those things brought us together, all the ups and downs we had, we stuck together because we had to fight the whole world at first, to get people to listen to us. For some reason the British press just couldn't stand us, so we eventually just got to a point where we said, 'That's it, we're just not going to do any more press.'  It just wasn't worth it, we were getting better press by not doing press.”

Tony has also spoken out on his first impressions of Ozzy, Bill and Geezer and how those first gigs went down. The 69-year-old rock legend said: “At school Ozzy and I didn’t really associate because he was a year younger than me. He was a pain to be honest and I probably was too. I liked Bill, who I was in a band with before Sabbath, I really got on well with him. I thought Geezer was a nutter to be honest, because he played in this all-nighter club in Birmingham. He used to climb up the walls and we thought, ‘Blimey, he’s a weird bloke. Little did we know we were going to end up in a band together. Weird combination, but it worked. It didn’t at first for the first few shows though. Bill and myself used to live up in Carlisle, so we did some shows up their through our agent there. But they didn’t particularly like us. This one bloke comes up after a show and says, ‘Your singer’s crap!’"

It also turns out out that Black Sabbath’s bassist, Geezer, wasn’t really a bassist at all.

“I didn’t even know that Geezer wasn’t a bass player, he was a guitarist. He didn’t have a bass, so he borrowed somebody’s – three strings on it for our first gig. And we wore different sorts of clothes. Geezer had this sort of hippy dress on and I wore a leather jacket. We looked like a right bunch really. But it worked at the end of day.”

It turns out Black Sabbath’s bad press would continue, despite growing fans and their multi-million selling second album, 1970’s Paranoid. In the end the band published The Ten Year War brochure, which poked fun at their critics with the witty tagline: “More good press than most – more bad press than any.”  The pamphlet has now be immortalised with Black Sabbath’s new The Ten Year War Limited Edition vinyl box set.

Tony said: “Really it was an idea that came to us. This idea of all the slagging off we had in the early days. We weren’t exactly the most popular band. Journalists just didn’t like us.”

Tony explained a number of photographs from the band’s early studio sessions which saw him bearing a black eye, recounted the story that would eventually spark ‘Fairies Wear Boots’. “We got into a fight a couple of days before we were due in the studio with some mods, who of course didn’t like us rockers. We ended up in this ginormous fight, Ozzy hit someone over the head with a hammer. There was only the four of us and one of the crew, you had to have a weapon of some sort! A hammer did the job, although Ozzy’s got a gun now…”

He remembered the sudden and unexpected vault to fame that greeted the band once ‘Paranoid’ became a hit record. “That song threw us in a different direction, we didn’t want to do Top of the Pops. We were attracting screaming girls, but that wasn’t us, that wasn’t the band. We wanted to be accepted musically, not as flavor of the month. Paranoid threw us off the rails a bit.” The record’s dark lyrics, he argued, became lost in the madness of sudden fame. “I think at the time bands were in and out so quickly that I don’t think anyone bothered to work out what it was about, they just liked the rhythm of it.”, 28 July 2017

The long awaited "Iommi Awards" finally arrive!


The Greatest Tony Iommi will be honored with Loudwire's Courage Award, which recognizes both his musical output and his bravery in his battle with cancer on 24 October 2017 at the Novo Theater in Los Angeles.

Going forward, the award will be called "The Iommi", and presented to future generations of courageous artists.

“I’m so stoked to reclaim my crown as the greatest rock ‘n’ roll awards show host of all time,” says award's host Chris Jericho. “The Loudwire Music Awards is gonna be the biggest awards show in American heavy metal history, with the biggest bands, biggest performances, biggest trophies and the biggest bar tabs since Lemmy left this mortal coil! So all you Earthdogs, Hellrats and Rivetheads get ready to rock out as we paint the town none more black!” Each winner will take home an official trophy dubbed the “Hand of Doom” — molded after the hand of Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi.

“Of all the funny things that I’ve done in my life — this was another one,” Iommi quipped in a statement. “I was asked if I would do a mold of my hand so that they could make it into an award. … I was very honored. I was asked to put my arm into this big bucket full of this colored gel, all was going fine until it set and then I found that I couldn’t get my arm back out! My hand started to cramp up and I thought oh no what now? Anyway, after a considerable amount of pulling and twisting it eventually came out and the cast looked amazing, so much detail, I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished award. Thanks Loudwire, what’s next?”

Wow, that's great and a long awaited news, we all were dreaming about "Iommi Awards" in rock music, and here it is, finally it became real! Congratulations to The One and Only Master Tony! Well deserved!

Ultimate Classic Rock, 15 July 2017

Black Sabbath's final concert makes 'The End Of The End' movie


"The End Of The End" chronicles the final tour from the one and only band that spawned the metal genre. On 4 February 2017, Sabbath stormed the stage in their hometown of Birmingham, to play the 81st and final triumphant gig of "The End" tour. This monumental show brought down the curtain on a career that spanned almost half a century.

The sold-out performance marked the culmination of a global tour that saw the band play to over one and a half million fans. With their inception in 1968, Black Sabbath pioneered a sound that would form the basis of heavy metal, and to this day continues to influence bands the world over.

The film brings fans the up close and personal story of the final, emotionally charged concert, as the band perform hits, including "Iron Man", "Paranoid", "War Pigs" and many more. They deliver unique and exclusive performances of some of their favorite songs not played on the tour, and catch an intimate glimpse into the band's world; the music, relationships and banter, alongside personal anecdotes.

The boys said: "To bring it all back home after all these years was pretty special. It was so hard to say goodbye to the fans, who've been incredibly loyal to us through the years. We never dreamed in the early days that we'd be here 49 years later doing our last show on our home turf."

"The End Of The End" offers us the chance to witness for ourselves our Band's incredible swansong. For one night only on 28 September 2017, over 1,500 cinemas worldwide will be showing a specially edited version of "Black Sabbath: The End Of The End".

The film will be distributed to cinemas worldwide by Trafalgar Releasing on 28 September and will include the incredible final gig as well as unprecedented behind the scenes access to the band, filmed by director Dick Carruthers ("Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day", "Imagine Dragons: Smoke + Mirrors Live"). "The End, Live In Birmingham" will be released in various formats later this year, by Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Tickets are now on sale worldwide with more cinemas to follow soon. If "Black Sabbath: The End of the End" is not screening in a specific area, fans can make a request for via "Demand It" it by filling out a form on the web site, and Trafalgar Releasing will do their best to bring the event to a cinema near them.

For details of cinemas taking part in this very special one-night-only event and TO BUY YOUR TICKETS, visit,, 29 June 2017

"The Ten Year War" Limited Edition Deluxe Vinyl Box Set announced


Black Sabbath officially announced a new release, the new vinyl Deluxe Box Set of Ozzy era studio albums, with some reproduced memorabilia and gadgets, to be released on 29 September this year. The box is titled The Ten Year War, and preorders are already open online. If you are a vinyl collector, you may be interested in this box. 

"The Ten Year War" Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set contents:

The Limited Edition Box Set Includes: 8 x vinyl LPs meticulously reproduced in their original sleeves, re-mastered by renowned mastering engineer Andy Pearce from the original tapes and pressed on 180 gram splatter-coloured vinyl, each LP with unique and individual colouring.



• MASTER OF REALITY (including original fold-out colour poster)

 • VOL. 4 





• 2 x rare 7” singles, reproduced in their original sleeves: Japanese version of Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games With Me)/Black Sabbath Chilean version of Paranoid/The Wizard (only 100 copies of the original radio promo were pressed)

• Crucifix shaped Black Sabbath USB stick, exclusive to this box set, which can be worn round the neck and contains MQA high definition audio of the first eight Black Sabbath albums

• The extremely rare The Ten Year War brochure, reproduced from the original publication

• Hardback book, featuring accolades from the cream of rock royalty, coupled with official and candid iconic photography of the band during their 1970s tours, recording sessions and photo-shoots

• Tenth Anniversary World Tour 1978 Official Programme, impeccably reproduced

• Reprinted tour poster from the 1972 Seattle Centre Arena show
Box set cover art has been created by globally renowned street artist Shepard Fairey
(additional content)

• Exclusive Shepard Fairey art print included with this limited edition version.

Overview: Black Sabbath are one of the world’s most popular and enduring heavy metal bands and are constantly credited with inventing and defining the genre. To this day, the world of metal - fans and artists alike - cites Sabbath as being both influential and inspirational.

From the blues-laden metal which defined the band’s sound on their self-titled debut, to the multi-million selling follow-up, ‘Paranoid’, Sabbath captured the attention of a generation hungry for a new musical direction. However, the all-conquering enthusiasm shown by Sabbath’s rabid fan base wasn’t always mirrored by the gatekeepers within the music press, and it is this disparity which inspired the band to publish The Ten Year War brochure. This document was a playful dig at the journalists of the time with the witty tagline: “More good press than most – more bad press than any”. With a career spanning 50 years, Black Sabbath have proven time and time again that their musical heritage is unrivaled.
Having sold tens of millions of records, sold out global arena tours and bewitched millions of dedicated fans, the band have built a catalogue envied by all.

The Ten Year War box set brings together the first eight Sabbath studio albums in one place, plus a swathe of other rarities, and celebrates the band’s achievements on the stage, in the studio and in the public eye.

Preorder on these links: or ,, 23 June 2017

Tony Iommi talks about his future plans


Tony Iommi needs little introduction. The father of heavy metal, he along with Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward changed the face of the musical landscape with Black Sabbath, conjuring some of the most famous guitar riffs of all time. There have been so many iconic pieces, that even he can’t tell which is the best. Eamon O’Neill of Eonmusic caught up with Tony for a chat at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods, where he was on hand to collect the ‘Golden God’ award on behalf of the band. Here is the interview: 

​-- Good evening Tony, you recently played your last ever gig with Black Sabbath; How emotional was it on stage playing those last few chords?-

- It was a strange experience. I don’t think it’s sunk in to everybody, to all the band, really. It was sad, it was the last show, but I was wondering how we were all going to finish and what we were going to do after the show, but we had three days of filming after it, so we were all still seeing each other. It was only then that we realised; “oh, this is it”, after that. But as far as the audience was concerned, it was very emotional, and people came from all over the world to see it, and it was just brilliant. You couldn’t wish for a better send off.

-- What are your emotions now, with a bit of distance between the show ending?

-- I still feel like I’m on tour, to be honest. I mean, I’ve done it for fifty years ; it’s hard to kind of just go ‘bang’ and then forget about it, which I don’t want to do, in some ways. I love what I do, and for me, we stopped the tour because I didn’t particularly want to keep touring, because of the health issues. But I loved being on stage, and I love seeing the audiences – there’s no better feeling than that.

​-- There’s been talk of a possible one-off gig in a football ground in Birmingham; is there any truth in those rumours?

-- It was me talking about that, I started it! I think it would be nice to do that at some point. I haven’t spoke to the others about it, but it would be, honestly, and they’d be up for it. It’s early days yet, really. It hasn’t even sunk in as far as we’ve finished. 

-- How are you, health-wise these days?

-- Yeah, I feel okay, I just get tired. That was one of the main reasons we’re stopping touring, because the long tours of eighteen months was just, you get to be too tired. When I was 22, it was all right, but now I’m 35…!

-- Are you a man of leisure now?

-- Funny enough, I find it more busy now than when we were on tour. I don’t know what it is; I’m doing more things, other things, but still involved in music, doing stuff for charities, and just doing things like that, which is nice. I like to do it, but it still takes up the time. The only difference is I’m not flying everywhere.

-- There’s been talk that you may work with former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin again.

-- Yeah, Tony Martin said that. Is there a possibility that that might happen? There’s a possibility to anything, really. There’s nothing set in stone. I just spoke to him about maybe one day doing a couple of things, but I’ve spoke to a lot of people about that.

-- Those albums; ‘Headless Cross’ through to ‘Cross Purposes’ are currently unavailable; would you like to see them remixed and given the remastered treatment?

-- Yes, absolutely. I’d like to get them reissued again, absolutely. I think they were good stuff that some people never even heard.​

-- You’ve spoken about doing an album with Brian May; will that ever see the light of day?

-- Brian came up to my house a couple of weeks ago, and we started talking about it again, but it’s quite possible. We’d like to do it, but now he’s going on tour. But yeah, I’d like to do something with him. 

-- Do you still play the guitar every day, even when you’re not on the road?

-- No. I didn’t play it on the road every day; I only played it when we played. No, I can’t sit down and practice. I don’t know why. I get bored with it. If I’m writing something, I will sit down and play it, and on the road, I only play at the gigs; I don’t play it on the days off.

-- Of all the riffs you’ve written, is there one you’re most proud of?

-- I’m proud of what I did, and there’s a lot of stuff I write that I like. I like riffs, and hopefully will be coming out with a lot more.

-- With the tour winding down, did you get a chance to sit down with Geezer and Ozzy and have a drink and reminisce?

-- No, because they don’t drink! But yeah, we did talk about the old days. We had some fun just talking about it, remembering it, and even not remembering it!

-- Was there an easier closure with Black Sabbath than there was with the end of Heaven And Hell and Ronnie James Dio’s passing?

-- Well it was different with Ronnie because Ronnie passed away. But you know, I still stay in touch with Ozzy and Geezer. We’ve never really stayed in touch every day. Even on the road, we don’t see each other until we do the show; it’s not because we don’t like each other, it’s just the way it is, everybody does their own thing and you give them their space. We’re still the same now; I’ll email Geezer or Ozzy, and he’ll get back and let me know what he’s doing, and that’s the sort of thing we do and we always have done. It used to be phone calls and now you can reach anybody by just leaving a text.  

-- Have you missed performing some of the tracks from the Ronnie era such as ‘Mob Rules’ and ‘Heaven And Hell’?

-- Yeah, I did actually, because they were good songs, and when we did the stuff with Ronnie, we played all that stuff; we didn’t do any of the old Sabbath stuff. But we enjoyed that, and that was that set, and then we went back to doing the old stuff, which again I enjoyed, so it was a real nice difference. 


Eamon O’Neill for, 20 June 2017

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